Date: 4 May 2009
Draft National Judicial Policy
The National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee in its meeting on 18 -19 April 2009 at Islamabad deliberated upon various issues and approved the following National Judicial Policy for strict observance of code of conduct, eradication of corruption amongst judicial officers/court staff and quick disposal of cases:
|On 1st April 2009, total pendency of cases at all level of judicial hierarchy in Pakistan is as follows:|
|Federal Shariat Court:||2092|
|Lahore High Court:||84704|
|High Court of Sindh:||18571|
|Peshawar High Court:||10363|
|High Court of Balochistan:||4160|
|2. Independence of Judiciary|
|The Committee discussed the issue of independence of judiciary and its separation from the Executive and resolved as under:-|
|i||In future no Chief Justice or a judge of the superior court shall accept appointment as acting Governor of the Province.|
|ii||No retired judge of the superior court shall accept an appointment which is lower to his status or dignity including appointment as presiding officers of Banking Court, Custom Court and Administrative Tribunals, etc|
|iii||Letters should be written to such judges to relinquish charge of such posts in the interest of judicial independence/separation from executive. The Government should relieve such judges and may not make such appointments in future.|
Instead of appointing retired judges/judicial officers as Presiding Officers of the special courts/tribunal, qualified serving judges be appointed against these posts in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court.
Posting of serving judges against executive posts in Federal and Provincial Government Departments on deputation be discontinued. All such judges should be repatriated to the respective High Courts, where their services are needed most for expeditious disposal of pending cases
|vi||All Special Courts / Tribunals under the administrative control of Executive must be placed under the control and supervision of the judiciary, their appointments/postings should be made on the recommendations of the Chief Justice of High Court.|
The Judges of the superior courts should follow the Code of Conduct for judges. They should take all steps necessary to decide cases within the shortest possible time. As provided by Article X of the Code of Conduct: “In his judicial work a Judge shall take all steps to decide cases within the shortest time, controlling effectively efforts made to prevent early disposal of cases and make every endeavor to minimize suffering of litigants by deciding cases expeditiously through proper written judgments. A judge who is unmindful or indifferent towards this aspect of his duty is not faithful to his work, which is a grave fault”. Hence, the Chief Justice of concerned High Court may report cases of violation of Code of Conduct including incidents of unusual delays/inefficient performance to the Chairman, Supreme Judicial Council for action.
|4. Eradication of Corruption|
|The Committee also took serious notice of the increasing complaints of corruption amongst judicial officers and court staff and resolved that corruption in all its forms and manifestation should be eradicated and there should be zero tolerance for corruption. The Committee resolved as under:-|
The Lower Judiciary Conduct Rules framed by the Peshawar High Court and adapted by the Lahore High Court should also be considered for adoption by the High Courts of Sindh and Balochistan
Present mechanism for initiation of disciplinary action against corrupt and inefficient judicial officers/court staff be improved. In each High Court a Cell to be called “Cell for Eradication of Corruption from Judiciary” may be established in the office of Registrar, under the supervision of Chief Justice of High Court to entertain complaints with credible evidence. Copies of such complaints may also be forwarded to the Registrar, Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Action should be initiated against those judicial officers/staff who carry persistent reputation of being corrupt or have their life style beyond ostensible means of income.
To eradicate intellectual corruption, the MITs in High Courts may be asked to examine the judgments of the judicial officers to detect incidents of corruption/improper conduct. All the judicial officers of the subordinate judiciary may be asked to send copies of the judgments including bail/stay orders for scrutiny to MITs.
Surprise inspections be carried out by the Chief Justices/judges of the High Courts to evaluate and monitor the working of subordinate judiciary. In this regard, Judges of the High Courts be designated for each division/district on rotation basis.
|vi||The District and Sessions Judges should also report about the corruption/misconduct of their subordinate judges.|
|vii||Each judge should himself write order sheets, interlocutory orders and register petitions.|
Appropriate criminal cases under the relevant provisions of law may also be registered against the judicial officers/court staff involved in the corruption.
The corrupt judicial officers be made OSD and kept against their post for the purpose of drawing salary only and disciplinary proceedings should be quickly finalised.
|x||No judicial officer/official should be posted in home district and those remained posted in a particular district beyond 3 years should be transferred to other district|
|xi||Naib Courts having completed 3 months attachment with a court should be sent back to their parent department instead of transferring them to other court by rotation.|
|xii||The complaints of corrupt practices and professional misconduct against lawyers addressed to the Chief Justice of High Court should be forwarded to the Bar Council for action. The Council should take immediate action on such complaints under intimation to Registrars of the concerned High Court.|
|xiii||Incentives should be given to the judicial officers who are efficient and honest including advance increments and posting of choice etc.|
|5. Measures for Expeditious Disposal of Cases|
|The Committee approved the following short term and long term measures for expeditious disposal of cases:-|
|Short terms Measures in Criminal Cases|
|i||For bail matters, notice to the State for record etc., shall not exceed beyond 3 days and all Inspectors General of Police of the provinces should ensure the service and compliance of notice within the given time and the court should dispose of the matter without any further delay.|
|ii||Bail applications with photocopy of the FIR authenticated by the Counsels/AOR should be accepted and judicial officer should call for record of the case from the police at his own through special messenger of the police department.|
|iii||Bail application should be decided by Magistrate in 3 days.|
|iv||All cases of bail after arrest are to be decided by the High Courts, preferably within seven days.|
|v||All criminal cases punishable with imprisonment from 1 to 7 years registered after 1 January 2009 may be kept on fast track for disposal within 3 months.|
|vi||All current cases punishable with imprisonment from 7 years and above including death cases shall be decided preferably within a period of 6 months.|
|vii||Cases relating to preventive detentions should be decided within 15 days|
|viii||All miscellaneous applications like transfer application, release of vehicles on Superdari and other applications arising out of interim orders should be decided within 3 days.|
|ix||No judge should grant remand in the absence of accused and while granting remand should strictly adhere to the relevant provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure and principles laid down in the Hakeem Mumtaz case. (PLD 2002 SC 590)|
|x||Non completion of investigation and non submission of Challans in statutory period is a major cause of delays in disposal of criminal cases. Since, Police plays crucial role in administration of justice; therefore, the District Police Officers may be asked to ensure that the police should conclude investigation and submit Challans within the prescribed period of 14 days. They may be asked that the SHOs who fail to comply with this statutory provision should be treated as inefficient officer under the Police Order. The DPOs should also submit list of cases in which Challans are still pending for want of investigation for inspection and passing appropriate orders by the District and Sessions Judges.|
|xi||Production before court for remand/trial is a statutory right of every prisoner; therefore, the District and Sessions Judges should ask the jail authorities to ensure that the prisoners must be produced before the court. The District and Sessions Judges should also monitor that while granting remand all requisite procedural formalities should be complied with.|
Many convicts including women are languishing in jails for want of payment of diyat and fines even in some cases after serving their entire period of sentence of imprisonment. Therefore, an exercise may be carried out in each district to examine and suggest all possible means and measures for payment of diyat and fines including provision of soft loans or releasing them on bail to make payment in installments after earning.
In murder references, the practice of printing paper books may be discontinued by the Chief Justice through an administrative order, so as to avoid unnecessary delay in appeal.
|xiv||In criminal cases, non representation of accused by counsel is also a cause of delay in trial; therefore, the Chief Justices of Provincial High Courts in consultation with the Chairman of the Legal Aid Committee of the Provincial Bar Councils or Pakistan Bar Council may appoint lawyer in such cases to avoid delay.|
|xv||To check the tendency of filing false and frivolous cases, the court should take penal action against the party by imposing fines under section 250 Cr.P.C or filing complaints under section 182 and 211 PPC.|
|xvi||The Courts/Government should make use of the Probation of Offender Ordinance 1960 as well as the Good Conduct Prisoners Probation Release Act 1926.|
Emphasis should be given on quick disposal of Murder, Narcotics and Anti Terrorism cases and cases of women and Juvenile offenders etc.
|xviii||To clear the backlog under different categories, special benches should be constituted at Principal seat and Branch Registries of Supreme Court and High Court to decide current/old cases by placing the prioritized ones on fast track.|
|Short Term Measures in Civil Matters|
|i||A writ petition on institution should be fixed for ‘katchi peshi’ on the next day and disposed of as quickly as possible.|
|ii||Writ petitions pertaining to service disputes including promotion, transfer and other matter relating to admission of students in professional colleges and allied matters, if competent under the law, should be decided, preferably within 60 days.|
|iii||All stay matter should be decided within 15 days of grant of interim injunction and in case of delay, the judicial officer should report reasons to the concerned Chief Justice of the High Court through Registrar.|
|iv||The rent cases may be decided speedily within a period of 30 days.|
|v||Civil Appeals, Writ Petitions and other miscellaneous Review Petitions pertaining to rent matters should be decided in 90 days.|
|vi||All revision petitions under CPC arising out of interlocutory orders i.e. Interim stay orders, misjoinder and non joinder of necessary parties, appointment of local commissioners and non payment of court fee should be decided within 3 months.|
|vii||Family cases should be decided in 3 months time. Civil appeal arising out of family cases, custody of minors and against interim orders, if competent, shall be decided within 30 days. For any further delay, reasons be furnished to High Court.|
|viii||Banking and Tax cases should be decided preferably within 6 months.|
|ix||Senior Civil Judges should decide review cases in 30 days and the trial of current cases (instituted after 1st January 2009) should be completed within 6 months.|
|x||Negotiable Instrument cases which are decided through summary procedure should be decided in 90 days.|
|xi||Priority should be given to quickly dispose off women cases, juvenile cases, rent cases, stay orders, bail matters, small causes and minor offences under the Small Claims and Minor Offence Courts Order 2002.|
|xii||In the Supreme Court and High Courts, priority should be given to dispose off old cases, except cases in which special orders were passed by court for fixation of the cases on specified dates.|
|xiii||To clear the backlog under different categories, special benches should be constituted for each category on the Principal seat and Branch Registry of the Supreme Court and High Court. There should be a commitment of judges to decide the old civil/criminal cases up-to the year of 2008 within one year.|
|xiv||The District Judges should adopt such measures which ensures handling of 50% of cases from backlog (filed on or before 31 December 2008) and 50% from current cases.|
|xv||Civil and criminal functions of the court should be bifurcated so that the judges can try criminal and civil cases exclusively. For fuller comprehension of civil/criminal law and experience, such judicial officers be rotated periodically.|
Long Term Measures
|i||The judges of High Courts may also carryout inspection of prisons periodically for ensuring compliance within prison rules and giving on the spot remedy/relief according to law.|
|ii||Strength of judicial officers and para legal staff should be increased to cope with the growing litigation and clear backlog.|
|iii||Necessary funds be provided by Government for infrastructure support like construction of courtrooms, amenities for lawyers/litigants parties. The strength of judicial officers should be increased to cope with rising trend of litigation in the country. Adequate staff, library facilities and accessory equipment like computers should also be made available to courts.|
|iv||While filing a case, the Advocate should file a certificate to the effect that he will appear on notice by the court in the case and will ensure his presence on the date of hearing or some other lawyer will appear on his behalf to conduct the case, failing which he will be responsible for the consequences.|
|v||The causes of delay in disposal of cases are non service of summons, non filing of written statements, non filing of appeals timely, non production of evidence, transfer of cases from one court to other, non punctuality of judges, excuses of lawyers and non availability of presiding officers, etc. Other reasons for delay are not following the law and precedents of the superior courts and contrary judgments by the different courts on identical issues and question of law. In criminal cases, delay is due to non registration of FIR, non-cooperation of police with the accused/complainant, non-completing investigation in time, delay of submission of Challan, non-production of accused from prisons, getting remand without production of accused in court, not following the cause list, etc. The relevant persons namely, judges, lawyers, police and prison authorities should make concerted efforts to minimize delays and expedite trials.|
|vi||Under the Police Order 2002, the Police Complaints Authorities and District Public Safety Commissions are setup at various levels for enquiring into complaints against police regarding misuse of authority, dishonest investigation, negligence and inefficiency. Therefore, it is needed that in serious matters references may be filed before these bodies for appropriate action.|
|vii||Disparity in salaries/allowances of the judicial officers in the Province of Punjab and other provinces may be removed to bring about uniformity. The salary/allowances of court staff should also be suitably increased.|